EICHLER SIDING INSTALLATION TIPS
Keep in mind that the investment in Eichler Siding for your home is only as good as the steps you take to insure that the siding is prepared and installed properly.
We suggest that you use a licensed contractor WHO HAS GOOD REFERENCES AND HAS EXPERIENCE INSTALLING SIDING. We are surprised to discover that some contractors are not even aware of proper installation techniques. We suggest you use this sheet and any other information you find from reputable installers and have your installer/painter initial each paragraph indicating that they have read and understand the issues.
- LOCAL BUILDING CODES: Make sure that the contractor is familiar with the local building codes in your area. Building codes vary from area to area. The guidelines we provide are not intended to replace the codes required in your area. Sheer strength is an important issue. Some codes require additional sheer material to be added under the new siding, and some do not. Be sure first of this local building requirements BEFORE INSTALLATION, otherwise, corrections may be very costly.
- PRIMING, PAINTING AND SEALING: The siding must be primed and sealed BEFORE installation. The topcoat is applied after the installation. If the siding must be trimmed (most often it does) to fit in length, or to fit around windows, etc. All the edges must be primed and sealed before the siding is nailed up. Sealing the edges is most important! Some people choose to back prime the backside of the siding at least 18" up from the bottom edge of the siding. This helps to protect the siding from absorbing moisture from rain splatter or from sprinklers. Remember wood is porous and therefore will wick up water if not sealed correctly. Click here for a painter recommendation.
Check with a professional paint store such as Kelly Moore, or Dunn Edwards. Use a high quality primer/sealer that will be compatible with your topcoat. The professionals at a good paint store can help you with these issues. DO NOT TRY TO SAVE MONEY BY PURCHASING LOW QUALITY PAINT. Primer/sealer and topcoat is the only defense your siding has against the elements. It is not uncommon for the plywood grooves of your siding to reveal small gaps, or voids below the surface of the wood. This is the result of the plywood mill allowing the interior layers of the wood to not always meet perfectly as they manufacture each sheet. These voids are not unique to Eichler style siding. They exist in almost all types of plywood made today. However, due to the number of grooves in Eichler siding, more voids are revealed than otherwise. We recommend that care be taken to fill this voids with a high quality exterior paint able caulking compound before the panel is primed and sealed. Consult your local paint store for recommendations and follow the manufactures directions on the tube. Do not use so much caulk that you fill the grooves, otherwise the grooves will appear to have flat spots in them after they are painted. Your goal is to only fill the void level with the bottom of the groove. For more specifics on sealing and painting MDO, click here.
- ROLLER/BRUSHING VS. SPRAYING: We recommend the combined use of a brush and roller to apply enough primer/sealer and topcoat to the siding. Spraying is quicker, but in our estimation, spraying does not apply nearly enough paint to afford good protection. Using a brush to get the primer/sealer and topcoat in the grooves seems to be the best approach. Then follow with a good roller to smooth out the paint. Always keep in mind that your goal is to give the porous wood the best protection against the elements. Again, care must also be taken that you don't fill up the grooves with too much paint. With a little patience and skill, the application goes pretty smooth.
- PROPER GAP FOR INSTALLATION: Care must be taken to not install the siding too tight. This is true of all plywood siding, not just Eichler siding. Wood expands and contracts as the result of moisture, heat, and cold changes. If the siding is installed too tightly, the plywood may buckle when moisture increases in the air and the plywood expands. Common installation techniques often recommend about a 1/8" gap between the sheets to allow for this expansion. Again, it is good to consult local building codes and take into consideration the type of climate in your area. This is a great example of the need to have a qualified installer who is well experienced in the use of plywood siding, versus one who is not.
- PROPER NAILING: Because local building codes often have different regulations, we do not specify the length or spacing of the nailing required in your area. This is not the place to take short cuts. It takes time to do good quality nailing on exterior siding. Consult local building codes and make sure you can trust the experience and knowledge of your installer. NEVER ALLOW AN INSTALLER TO NAIL NEW SIDING OVER OLD. Sometimes this attempt is made to save time, and to imply that the home will be stronger. However what you are really doing is simply covering over dry rot or other structural problems that often surface later.
These guidelines are provided as important issues to consider and to help educate the homeowner.
They are not intended to take the place of knowledgeable experienced installers and painters. Sometimes unique issues surface related to your particular home and situation. There is no substitution for quality building techniques and experienced installers who are familiar with your home, and the climate in your area. Bottom line, you don't want an inexperienced installer "practicing" on your home!